– A Parent’s Guide –

Symptoms & Treatment

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, when a child (or adult) has been a victim of or had exposure to a traumatic event such as a near death experience, serious bodily injury, or sexual violence.  

Your child could have PTSD if they have a severe reaction to their experience lasting more than one month including:

  • intrusive memories,
  • avoiding triggers of memories,
  • and experiencing distressing emotions associated with the event.  

Signs of PTSD in Children

Physical & Behavioral Signs
  • Being more easily startled,
  • Angry,
  • Aggressive,
  • Show more self-destructive behavior,
  • Having trouble concentrating or sleeping
Emotional Signs
  • Forgetting important details of the event,
  • Feeling detached from others,
  • Withdrawing from usual activities,
  • Developing new rigid, negative, or distorted beliefs about oneself, others, or the world.
Other Important Information

IMPORTANT: Exposure to a traumatic event may include a child seeing others experience the event or hearing that an event happened to loved ones even though the child was not there.

In addition to flashbacks, children may experience intrusive memories as shown by repetitive play or reenactment in play that demonstrates the theme of the event as well as scary dreams that may or may not be about the event.

According to the DSM-5, children who already had emotional problems before the age of 6 and before a traumatic event are more likely to develop PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event (2013, p. 277).

Females are more likely than males to develop PTSD in all age groups (p. 278).

Treatment for PTSD in Children


Medication can be an effective tool for treating anxiety disorders in children provided appropriate caution is taken when considering this treatment method.

The child should have an evaluation by a psychiatrist (not only a medical doctor), the prescriber should stay in contact with other health professionals including professional counselors, and a holistic plan of care including short and long-term monitoring should be established.

Effective therapy for children with anxiety disorders includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approaches such as mindfulness techniques and play therapy.


If you would like help navigating your child’s anxeity, please give us a call.

Early intervention of crucial so your child can have a thriving future.

We specalize in helping who have PTSD or experienced a traumatic event.

We help anxious kids and frustrated parents. We serve Hinsdale & the Western Suburbs of Chicago.

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